Archive for the ‘ India ’ Category

Indian woman divorces over husband’s soap opera ban

During the semester we discussed in depth both the influence of the Western culture on the rest of the world, but also how much power the media has gained also in the political sphere. We analyzed cases in which a television program had a political and social impact, and actually made a difference by exposing the population to certain topics that were not discussed enough before.

On the other hand, in the story I found the situation presented is not entirely positive in my opinion. What happened was that in India a couple who had been married for over eight years divorced basically over the rights to watch a Soap Opera. Apparently, the husband was not allowing his wife to watch her favorite TV shows, and she considered the situation unfair. “From February 2005, the husband started picking up quarrels with the wife almost every day on the ground that she was seeing Hindi serials on TV channels”(BBC News). What is even more unreal was the response of the judge who stated that”not allowing the spouse to watch TV serials amounted to cruelty”(BBC News).

In the end the wife won and got the divorce and custody of their daughter who her husband is only allowed to see twice a week. Is this fair, since the only issue was a tv show? I believe it shows another side of media, and how it is affecting society, and not always in a good way.

Valeria Ciancia

So You Think You Can Bollywood?

In the Fall of 2008, the American dance competition show, So You Think You Can Dance, had its first ever choreographed Bollywood routine. SYTYCD (for short) is a show that searches for the most talented dancers across the nation and has them compete performing various styles of dance, from ballroom, hip hop, contemporary, Broadway, and now Bollywood. Ever since the first appearance of the Bollywood dance style on the program, it has been featured in every consecutive season.  SYTYCD is an extremely popular program, so the style of Bollywood is being introduced to the American public through this entertainment format. The link below is to the first performance of Bollywood on the show that I am referring to. Pay special attention to what the judge Nigel says about the dance and about the fusion of cultures. It is especially interesting how he points out the similarities of the dance style to other styles that Americans are more familiar with, to help them grasp this essentially foreign style.

Intoducing Bollywood

In 2008, Disney released one of its Original Disney Chanel Movies, ‘The Cheetah Girls One World’. This was the third movie in the Cheetah Girls saga and in it the three main girls, Chanel, Dorinda, and Aqua travel to India to be cast in a Bollywood film. Competition ensues amongst the girls as they all try to land the main role as well as competition with the Indian dancers. In the end the three girls let another friend have the role, end up learning about India and Bollywood dance, as well as teaching their Indian peers hip hop.

While this example may seem a bit childish, it is the perfect example of counter-flows and how the East has influenced the West. It shows Hollywood meeting Bollywood in a sense.The Cheetah Girl’s target audience is pre-teens and younger children.  The movie is introducing Indian culture to these younger kids and showing them how both cultures can come together. Instead of just displaying how Western culture influences the East, it portrays just the opposite along with more of a fusion of the two. The main theme of the movie is promoting one world, hence the title, and promoting friendship and how despite their differences they are part of the same world and can share their cultures with one another. This link is from a video that the Associated Press did about the movie when it first came out, so it gives it a bit more credit.

When Globalization Backfires

As a hegemonic force, the United States is always blamed for the westernization-or the demoralization depending on to whom you speak to- of the more traditional countries. The sharing of western culture with third word countries is often seen as a form of philanthropic service to westerners, as they see it as introducing the world to the wonderful life of America. But what happens when globalization backfires, leaving westerns angry and resentful that globalization no longer benefits them and solely them? In “The Other Side of Outsourcing” a news segment that highlights the effects of globalization in India especially within the call-center sphere, journalist Thomas Friedman looks at the changing attitudes of the younger generation in India and how India’s globalization is slowly leaving the West behind. The segment explains how through cheap outsourcing, many American companies have call-centers in India which allows the companies cheap labor and allows young Indian’s more disposable income. However, with each company that moves their call-center overseas comes a new set of lost jobs, leaving many Americans feeling jilted that a foreigner now has their “western” job. Not only is the loss of jobs an important element that angers some Americans, but the fact that their access to the company is less direct causes them concern. When a customer has a complaint, no longer are they transferred to the company headquarters in say Baltimore but instead they are directed across the ocean to an Indian call teller with the alias of Jim Johnson. While globalization has definitely brought about positive change within the lives of the younger Indian generation, its negative effects on the stability of American jobs has many westerns on the defense.

Child Bride on Balika Vadhu, highest TV show in India

Outside Mumbai, India

there is a daily soap  based on a girl who is only 12 years old and married. She got married at the age of 8, where she lives with her husband and in-laws. The viewers see this show as  a custom and traditional India. This show is one of India’s most highly rated TV shows. An estimated 74 million people watched it in July. Though some fans love it, Indian lawmakers argued that the show violates the Indian Constitution and demands the show to be banned, for the girl was illegally married. In India girls are allowed to be married at 18, and boys at 21.

Engaging Africa with Software and Soft Power: the Pan-African e-Network Project

India cannot match China’s massive investments in Africa, but it is using its information technology capabilities and its affordable university courses to stay relevant on the continent.

The basic objective of the Pan-African e-Network project is to assist Africa in capacity building by way of imparting quality education to 10,000 students in Africa over a 5-year period in various disciplines from some of the best Indian Universities/Educational Institutions. Besides, this would provide Tele-Medicine services by way of on line medical consultation to the medical practioners at the Patient End Location in Africa by Indian Medical specialists in various disciplines selected by African Union for its Member States.

”India cannot obviously compete with either China or the United States, but it was this country which inspired the anti-colonial struggles of the last century and took a stand against apartheid” says Ajay Kumar Dubey of the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s department for Africa studies.

Dubey points to the Pan-African e-Network project as a classic example of what India has been doing to win friends in Africa and to also get a share of the coninent’s markets and resources for its own expanding economy at home.

Besides providing tele-medicine and tele-education programmes, the Pan-African e-Network facilitates easy video-conferencing among African heads of states across 33 nodes.

-Lara Bonalume-

India’s Family Plan

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the third Prime Minister of the Republic of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, for a total of fifteen years.

Gandhi used her dictatorship to effect a rapid ‘modernization’ of a country she considered dangerously ‘backward’. Her modernization program had progressive goals – universal literacy, the elimination of slums in the big cities, a more equal distribution of land in the countryside – but it was pursued in brutal and quixotic ways. Slums were eliminated not by the provision of new and better housing, but with bulldozers. Production was raised by banning strikes.

The most notorious part of the Gandhi regime’s ‘modernization’ program was the ‘family planning’ campaign.

Advances in health care and the end of the mass famines that had marked British rule meant that India’s population had increased markedly since independence in 1947.

 This “population bomb”, as it has been describe, has a devastating impact on limited resources, political management, and planned development. The control of disease in the past 80 years has brought a rapid decline in the death rate. From 251 million in 1921, India’s population more than doubled by 1971, reaching 548 million.
The population in 2006 was estimated to be about 1.1 billion and is expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2051. the annual rate of population growth increased from 1.1 % between 1921 and 1931 to 2.2 % between 1961 and 1981.

At the present growth rate, india’s population will surpass China’s by the middle of the century.

Indira Gandhi decided that population growth must be slowed to cut down demand for domestic food production, and to allow more exports of rice and other crops. She ignored the fact that, in the absence of any real social security system, many Indian parents saw large families as an essential source of labour and as a promise of support in old age.

To reduce birth rates the Government of India has undertaken one of the most extensive family-planning programs in the world. Media had a huge part in the propaganda; posters, radio and films proclaimed that “a small family is a happy family”.

Greg Bathon an American executive working in the Indian marketplace explains:

There were then, out of a population of some 600 million, more pregnant women in India than the entire population of Australia. So we were asked to work on the development of a national birth control program. We came up with a slogan, do ya tin bhaccha bas-in Hindi, “two or three children are enough,” and we superimposed that on a big triangle-shaped logo that ran on posters all over the country. Soon people got so used to seeing the triangle that even without words it would whisper ‘do ya tin bhaccha bas’


 We weren’t through yet! The little Philips transistor radios were very popular: You’d see men all over walking along the streets holding them up to their ears. In two short weeks we sent sales of Philips transistor radios into a death spiral with a campaign promising a free transistor radio to every man who signed up for a vasectomy.


From 1952 until mid 1976, more than 19million men had undergone voluntary sterilization in 1976

Transistor radios were distributed for free, blatantly used to promote the government’s family plan, to men who volunteered for a vasectomy.

 A man who lived through that period explains

People underwent the vasectomy just to get the free radio because on the black market this would have sold for 2-3 weeks wages.
Also many of the poorly educated country people and the beggars were so ill-informed of what they were losing in order to get the radio, that they didn’t see why they shouldn’t line up again to get a second one.


Posted by Helena Salvo